WEST virginia legislature
2020 regular session
Senate Bill 46
By Senator Rucker
8, 2020; referred
to the Committee on the Judiciary]
A BILL to amend and reenact §61-6-19 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend and reenact §61-7-2 of said code, all relating to defining “pepper spray”; exempting pepper spray from definition of “deadly weapons”; providing that persons over 16 years of age may carry pepper spray for the purpose of self-defense; and providing that such persons may carry pepper spray in the State Capitol Complex.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
ARTICLE 6. CRIMES AGAINST THE PEACE.
§61-6-19. Willful disruption of governmental processes; offenses occurring at State Capitol Complex; penalties.
(a) If any person willfully interrupts or molests the
orderly and peaceful process of any department, division, agency, or branch of
state government or of its political subdivisions, he or she is guilty of a
misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $100, or
confined in jail not more than six months, or both fined and confined: Provided,
That any assembly in a peaceable, lawful, and orderly manner for a redress of
may not be is not a violation of this section.
(b) It is unlawful for any person to bring upon the
State Capitol Complex any weapon as defined in §61-7-2 of this code: Provided,
That a person who may lawfully possess a firearm may keep a firearm in his or
her motor vehicle upon the State Capitol Complex if the vehicle is locked and
the weapon is out of normal view. It is unlawful for any person to willfully
deface any trees, wall, floor, stairs, ceiling, column, statue, monument,
structure, surface, artwork, or adornment in the State Capitol Complex: Provided, however, That a person over the age of 16 years may carry
pepper spray, used solely for self-defense, in the State Capitol Complex. It is unlawful for any person or persons to willfully
block or otherwise willfully obstruct any public access, stair, or elevator in
the State Capitol Complex after being asked by a law-enforcement officer acting
in his or her official capacity to desist: Provided
That in order to preserve the constitutional right of the people to assemble,
it is not willful blocking or willful obstruction for persons gathered in a
group or crowd if the persons move to the side or part to allow other persons
to pass by the group or crowd to gain ingress or egress: And provided
further, That this subsection does not apply to a law-enforcement officer
acting in his or her official capacity.
Any person who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $100 or confined in jail not more than six months, or both fined and confined.
ARTICLE 7. DANGEROUS WEAPONS.
As used in this article, unless the context otherwise requires:
(1) “Blackjack” means a short bludgeon consisting, at the striking end, of an encased piece of lead or some other heavy substance and, at the handle end, a strap or springy shaft which increases the force of impact when a person or object is struck. The term “blackjack” shall include, but not be limited to, a billy, billy club, sand club, sandbag or slapjack.
(2) “Gravity knife” means any knife that has a blade released from the handle by the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force and when so released is locked in place by means of a button, spring, lever, or other locking or catching device.
(3) “Knife” means an instrument, intended to be used or readily adaptable to be used as a weapon, consisting of a sharp-edged or sharp-pointed blade, usually made of steel, attached to a handle which is capable of inflicting cutting, stabbing, or tearing wounds. The term “knife” shall include, but not be limited to, any dagger, dirk, poniard, or stiletto, with a blade over three and one-half inches in length, any switchblade knife or gravity knife and any other instrument capable of inflicting cutting, stabbing, or tearing wounds. A pocket knife with a blade three and one-half inches or less in length, a hunting or fishing knife carried for hunting, fishing, sports, or other recreational uses, or a knife designed for use as a tool or household implement shall not be included within the term “knife” as defined herein unless such knife is knowingly used or intended to be used to produce serious bodily injury or death.
(4) “Switchblade knife” means any knife having a spring-operated blade which opens automatically upon pressure being applied to a button, catch or other releasing device in its handle.
(5) “Nunchaku” means a flailing instrument consisting of two or more rigid parts, connected by a chain, cable, rope or other nonrigid, flexible or springy material, constructed in such a manner as to allow the rigid parts to swing freely so that one rigid part may be used as a handle and the other rigid part may be used as the striking end.
(6) “Metallic or false knuckles” means a set of finger
rings attached to a transverse piece to be worn over the front of the hand for
use as a weapon and constructed in such a manner that, when striking another
person with the fist or closed hand, considerable physical damage may be inflicted
upon the person struck. The terms “metallic or false knuckles”
include any such instrument without reference to the metal or other substance
or substances from which the metallic or false knuckles are made.
(7) “Pistol” means a short firearm having a chamber which is integral with the barrel, designed to be aimed and fired by the use of a single hand.
(8) “Revolver” means a short firearm having a cylinder of several chambers that are brought successively into line with the barrel to be discharged, designed to be aimed and fired by the use of a single hand.
(9) “Deadly weapon” means
an instrument which is designed to be used to produce serious bodily injury or
death or is readily adaptable to such use. The term “deadly weapon”
includes, but is not be limited to, the instruments defined in
subdivisions (1) through (8), inclusive, of this section or other deadly
weapons of like kind or character which may be easily concealed on or about the
person. For the purposes of §18A-5-1a of this code and §61-7-11a of
this code, in addition to the definition of “knife” set forth in subdivision
(3) of this section, the term “deadly weapon” also includes any instrument
included within the definition of “knife” with a blade of three and one-half
inches or less in length. Additionally, for the purposes of §18A-5-1a of
this code and §61-7-11a of this code, the term “deadly weapon”
includes explosive, chemical, biological, and radiological materials.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, the term “deadly weapon”
does not include any item or material owned by the school or county board,
intended for curricular use, and used by the student at the time of the alleged
offense solely for curricular purposes, nor does the term “deadly weapon”
include any material defined as pepper spray, which is a temporarily disabling
aerosol that is composed partly of capsicum oleoresin and causes irritation and
blinding of the eyes and inflammation of the nose, throat, and skin, intended
for self-defense use, and used by any person over the age of 16 solely for
(10) “Concealed” means hidden from ordinary
observation so as to prevent disclosure or recognition. A deadly weapon is
concealed when it is carried on or about the person in such a manner that
another person in the ordinary course of events would not be placed on notice
that the deadly weapon was being carried. For purposes of concealed handgun
licensees, a licensee shall be
deemed considered to be carrying
on or about his or her person while in or on a motor vehicle if the firearm is
located in a storage area in or on the motor vehicle.
(11) “Firearm” means any weapon which will expel a projectile by action of an explosion.
(12) “Controlled substance” has the same meaning as is ascribed to that term in §60A-1-101(d) of this code.
(13) “Drug” has the same meaning as is ascribed to that term in §60A-1-101(1) of this code.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to define pepper spray and to exclude pepper spray, used by persons over the age of 16 years solely for self-defense, from the defined class of deadly weapons. The bill also provides that such persons may carry pepper spray in the State Capitol Complex.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.